Friday the 13th (1980) is a movie with the first 20 minutes being great and the last 30 minutes being absolutely excellent. Everything in the middle is somewhere, well… somwhere in the middle! It’s not good. It’s not bad. But it’s like a sandwich with too few things inbetween the slices of bread, if you know what I mean? Anyhow, I’m more than excited to write a list of the very best moments in Friday the 13th. It’s a movie I wholeheartedly enjoyed rewatching, and hope that this trip down memory lane will be a fun one for you. Here are the top 5 best moments in the Friday the 13th movie!
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5. The Opening Prologue
Sometimes the best moments are the ones that settle us into the atmosphere of the movie, if you know what I mean? There’s something inviting, and awfully creepy, about the opening of Friday the 13th. It starts with us viewing the cabin from the killer’s eyes. It’s dark outside, with an eerie feeling of something terrifying about to happen. In only a matter of moments, two of the camp counselors sneak away, hand-in-hand. They kiss. Then, they cuddle. In only a matter of minutes, they both die.
The elongated ending sequence with Claudette, one of the camp counselors who dies in the prologue, is especially noteworthy. It sets the tone of what’s to come, and does it in terrifying fashion, with a freeze frame at the end. While it’s not the greatest horror opening of all time, it sure is well created. It’s simple, straight to the point, and delivers on all fronts. In turn, we are introduced to Camp Crystal Lake in the “right” way. Therefore, I’m giving this moment a spot on my list, like it or not.
4. Mrs. Voorhees Loses Her Head
Mrs. Voorhees and Alice had a fight for the ages, didn’t they? It was as psychological as it was physical, and it was never clear on how it was going to end. Just when you thought that Alice had done enough, here comes Mrs. Voorhees ready for another round! It was honestly a really well-written 15 minute sequence, which is topped off beautifully with a decapitation. It’s only fitting that a movie with so much death ends in a head-rolling conclusion. So, with that being said, I’m giving this moment the 4th spot on my list of the best moments of Friday the 13th.
3. Annie’s Unexpected Death Sequence
Following the prologue, we come across a heartwarming young woman by the name of Annie. Well, obviously this is the Final Girl, right? Wrong! She gets killed just 20 minutes into the film. So Imagine the shock on my face when I see her die! While I’m not sure I like the idea of killing Annie so early, I love the idea of diverting expectations. It’s not an easy thing to pull off, but I have to say that they nailed it with this moment.
Everything from the chase to the kill itself is well executed, with Robbi Morgan giving a pretty good performance. It’s not the greatest, but it works in context of the kill. It’s a kill that comes during daylight, with a gruesome visual and a bloody good ending. I really thought that this moment had the correct ingredients; it was special.
2. Mrs. Voorhees Reveals Her True Self & Attacks Alice
Friday the 13th is a movie heavily inspired by the first person view concept; seeing the world through the eyes of a specific person. In this case, it’s the unknown figure that’s killing people at Camp Crystal Lake. While we see the killer’s arms and legs a few times, we are never shown who they belong to. In turn, we spend a good portion of the movie asking ourselves: who’s the killer? Therein lies the perfect setup for an unexpected twist, and a shocking reveal. And when I say “shocking”, I mean it. When that little ol’ lady came out of the car, she was the last person I was suspecting to be the killer. But when she started talking, everything started to make sense.
Betsy Palmer‘s performance as Mrs. Voorhees sells this moment surprisingly well, as she gives the character a very human element. It’s not a case of a creepy and intimidating man saying “I’m gonna kill you, so run away.” Quite the contrary, as Mrs. Voorhees is a well put together elderly woman, who looks as cute as a button and as gentle as a lamb. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, she’s quite the psychotic monster, isn’t she? However, it’s not without reason. After all, her son Jason drowned at the camp many years ago, which made her this way. While that might seem odd, it makes perfect sense for a mother to lose her wits when she loses her son.
Wait… Is Jason Speaking To His “Mommy”?
If there’s one thing that elevated this moment, it was Mrs. Voorhees talking to Alice in Jason’s voice. She said things like “kill her, mommy, kill her”, as if Jason was egging her on to kill Alice. It’s a complete break from reality, but in the world of Friday the 13th, it’s a part of the mystery. Was Jason actually talking to his mother? Was the ending of the movie all a big nightmare? I guess that’s the sick allure of this entire moment, isn’t it? We don’t know what is real, what is not, and that’s a good thing.
1. Ending: Jason Pulls Alice Into Crystal Lake
When you consider how mild the jump-scares are throughout the movie, the ending hits with a force good enough to send shivers down your spine. It’s like a bolt of a lightning from a clear blue sky, strong enough to bring Frankenstein to life! It’s just so unexpected, blurring the lines between reality and imagination, making for one very effective moment.
This moment soars head and shoulders above the rest. It’s a simple case of setting the movie up for that one big moment; this is it. While we don’t know if Jason is a revenant, what we do know is that he died long time ago. We only ever see glimpses of Jason in the form of a short flashback when Mrs Voorhees is explaining what happened to him. In turn, the revelation of Jason being some type of a spirit or a living legend makes for an intriguing twist. However, I must say that whatever way you view this part of the story, Jason pulling Alice into Crystal Lake is just bone-chilling as is. Without the context, showing it to a random person, it would creep them out.
In all honesty, I didn’t expect to be scared of the ending of Friday the 13th, but here we are! Honestly, I’m frightened by the mere though of what I saw. It was a moment that latched on to me and I can’t get rid of it. Who could’ve thought that the scariest moment in the movie would come during daytime? Not me. In turn, I thorougly felt like this moment stuck with me. It’s just so damn scary, with a very eerie setup. Thus, I’m giving it the first place on my list of the best moments in Friday the 13th!